Could we seed life on another planet?
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We could, but does that fit with the Prime Directive set out in Star Trek?
Asked by: Eoghan Lumsden, Dublin
Quite possibly – and preventing it from happening has long been a key concern in interplanetary exploration. In 1964, the Committee on Space Research required that nations take care to sterilise space probes to minimise the risk of contamination by Earth-based organisms. As a result, probes are routinely treated with heat, radiation and disinfectants before launch.
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Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.
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